Irregular menstruation is a common early pregnancy symptom. If these irregularities are repeated month after month, though, the abnormality in your menstruation cycles may be caused by something other than pregnancy.
If your period has usually been very regular form month to month, but in recent months you have had irregularities in your menstruation cycles you may be pregnant. Pregnancy can also cause your period to come with more intense pain or more bleeding.
What are some causes of irregular menstruation?
A normal range for most women’s cycle is between 21 to 35 days. Before or after this range can be considered an irregular menstruation.
Do not be alarmed by occasional irregular menses, or short term irregularity. To some extent and at some point in our lives, we have irregular periods.
However if your period is repeatedly irregular month after month, then you should take action immediately and see your doctor for a diagnosis and start finding possible causes.
You should consult your doctor if any of the following matched your situation:
- A Secondary Amenorrhea, which means a total absence of menstruation for three consecutive months, and can occur in women with chronic illness as rheumatic fever.
- The bleeding has lasted over a week.
- A pretty severe pain in the stomach.
- You have a fever or abnormal vaginal discharge, especially if it has an odor.
- Your periods have been heavy or prolonged for three or more cycles, compared to what is normal for you.
- You have bleeding or spotting between periods.
- You think problems with the hypothalamus, pituitary or ovaries can lead to irregular menstruation cycles.
What are these irregularities of menstruation?
Menstrual periods generally vary between 21 to 35 days, but you might consider that your period is regular if it occurs roughly at the same date each month.
For young girls who have just started their menstrual cycle, it is common for their first menses to be irregular. But this is only a process of hormonal synchronization in their menstrual period.
At certain age, women may also have irregular menstrual cycles in some months, indicating the entrance to the menopause or per-menopausal stage.
Another factor of irregular menstruation can occur due to certain disorders in the process of ovulation. This means that some women might not properly grow and release a mature egg each month, as it should occur normally. These ovulation disorders can disappear just as they appeared. However, do not hesitate to visit your doctor to find out possible causes.
What are some reasons that my period goes from being regular to irregular?
The most common causes of irregular menstruation can be:
- Losing or gaining some extra weight. If you lose weight, you have to take care that there are no symptoms of anemia, anorexia or bulimia. Overweight tends to affect hormones that regulate menstruation.
- Too much or intense exercise.
- Drug use and Alcohol.
- Rigid diets that are low in calories.
- Treatments and Medications such as chemotherapy.
- Abnormalities of the uterus such as polyps, endometriosis, fibroids, and cysts.
- Emotional disturbance.
- An illness.
How to treat irregular menstruation?
Any irregularity in your period has to be treated according to the cause which it originates. That’s why you should visit your doctor to find out the root cause. However, there are causes that you might find out and correct by yourself. Normally these causes are corrected by changing your lifestyle, “all depends on you”.
Treatments with the help of your doctor:
If the causes are not clearly due to your lifestyle, your doctor may suggest blood tests, ultrasound or even a biopsy, in order to find out the reason of your irregularities.
Many of the causes are due to hormonal imbalances that can be corrected with appropriate drugs or hormones, as recommended by your doctor. The contraceptive pill can be used as a measure to control irregular menstruation, providing an adequate combination of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) to maintain a proper balance.
But if you stop taking the pill at any time, your period may be affected and there may be some months of menstrual irregularity. Therefore, if you take the pill, try to have a strict regime on its use.
Treatments that you can do by changing your lifestyle:
If you exercise excessively, you can try lightening up your fitness schedule. You may see improvement in your menstruation irregularities in the following months.
If you smoke or drink alcohol, stop it, and see if your menstrual period starts to regulate itself. Otherwise visit your doctor to find out the cause that may disturb your menstrual cycles.
If there is stress or fatigue, try a relaxation exercises such as yoga, or take time off to relax.
A final thought:
Most women will experience irregular menstruation cycles at some point.
If you start tracking of your menstrual cycles you will be able to notice any inconsistencies faster. Personally, I am a bit messy, and it is very difficult for me to follow a strict regimen, but I have started to keep track of my menstruation dates in a paper calendar. Through tracking my cycles I have learned about my body, and to take immediate action when there is an abnormality in my menstrual period.